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Review: Maroon 5, “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long”

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Apparently, the “5” in Maroon 5 refers to the number of years between studio releases.Maroon 5

   Maroon 5 came crashing onto the music scene in 2002 with a sound that was catchy and new (provided you’d never heard anything from Motown, ever). Their album “Songs About Jane” sold fifty gajillion copies worldwide. Four singles were released from the album, and those four singles took up 97.2% of the airtime on radio stations for a two-year period.

   So naturally, it makes sense that they would capitalize on their popularity by not releasing any new studio efforts for five years. They did apparently release two live albums in the interim. However… I don’t care. A couple rules of thumb on live albums: one, you should do at least two studio albums before your first live album. Second, you should generally maintain at least a 50-50 ratio of studio to live music (unless you’re Dave Matthews).

   But I digress. The new album is here. “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long” is full of new topics and fresh sounds. And those are… umm… wait. Hang on while I check my notes.

   Songs about love. Songs about losing love. Songs about love hurting. Songs about wanting love back.  Upbeat music with a funky feel. Slow soulful crooning music.

DAMMIT! THIS IS THE SAME FREAKIN’ ALBUM! THIS IS “MORE SONGS ABOUT JANE,” ISN’T IT???

   Don’t get me wrong. The CD sounds like the first album, and the first album was good.  There’s a lot to be said for consistency. I appreciate the fact that I can pick up an Avril Lavigne CD and expect the same sorts of things that I’ve heard before (err, not that I listen to angsty teenage girl-rock or anything). I like a musician that doesn’t try to reinvent their sound with every new release. But there’s keeping true to yourself, and there’s “Hey, that first one worked so good that we should just switch some words around, change a few chords, and re-release it!”  In five years, you need to have something to show for your efforts other than having dated Jessica Simpson.

   Song you should pay a dollar to download on iTunes, rather than just stealing it for free: “Kiwi” is fun on several levels. It’s got a good sound, if you’re into the whole “music” thing or whatever. But it’s best appreciated on a lyrical level. As near as I can figure, the singer is referring to a woman. But it’s much more entertaining if the word “kiwi” is used literally, to refer to either a flightless bird or an actual piece of fruit… though admittedly the accompanying mental pictures might give you nightmares for a while.

Rating: On a scale of 1 to 5, I give this album 3.5 Juicemen.

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It’s solid, if not overly original. Any album that can keep the interest of a younger audience, while having their parents say “When did Stevie Wonder release a new album?” is a success on some level.

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